Dmitry Donskoy

Dmitry Donskoy
Dmitry of the Don
Grand Prince of Moscow
Reign 13 November 1359 – 19 May 1389
(&1000000000000002900000029 years, &10000000000000187000000187 days)
Predecessor Ivan II
Successor Vasiliy I
Consort Eudoxia Dmitriyevna
Daniil Dmitriyevich
Yury Vasiliyevich
Vasily Vasilyevich
Sofiya Dmitriyevna
Yury Dmitriyevich
Maria Dmitriyevna
Anastasia Dmitriyevna
Simeon Dmitriyevich
Ivan Dmitriyevich
Andrey Dmitriyevich
Pyotr Dmitriyevich
Anna Dmitriyevna
Konstantin Dmitriyevich
Full name
Dmitry Ivanovich
Dynasty Rurik
Father Ivan II
Mother Alexandra Vasilyevna Velyaminova
Born 12 October 1350(1350-10-12)
Moscow, Grand Duchy of Moscow
Died 19 May 1389(1389-05-19) (aged 38)
Moscow, Grand Duchy of Moscow

Saint Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy (Russian: Дми́трий Ива́нович Донско́й,also known as Dimitrii), or Dmitry of the Don, sometimes referred to as Dmitry I (12 October 1350, Moscow – 19 May 1389, Moscow), son of Ivan II the Meek of Moscow (1326 – 1359), reigned as the Prince of Moscow from 1359 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1363 to his death. He was the first prince of Moscow to openly challenge Mongol authority in Russia. His nickname, Donskoy (i.e., "of the Don"), alludes to his great victory against the Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo (1380) which took place on the Don River.[1] He is venerated as a Saint in the Orthodox Church with his feast day on May 19.[2][3]


Early reign

Dmitry Donskoy, illustration in Tsarsky Titulyarnik, 17th century

Dmitry ascended the throne of Principality of Moscow at the age of 9. During his minority, the government was actually run by Metropolitan Aleksey of Russia. In 1360 the highest dignity among Russian princes, that of Grand Prince of Vladimir, was transferred by a Khan of the Golden Horde upon Dmitry Konstantinovich of Nizhniy Novgorod. In 1363, when that prince had been deposed, Dmitry Ivanovich was finally crowned at Vladimir. Three years later, he made peace with Dmitriy Konstantinovich and married his daughter Eudoxia. In 1376, their joined armies ravaged Volga Bulgaria.

The most important event during the early years of Dmitry's reign was construction of the first stone Moscow Kremlin, completed in 1367. The new fortress allowed the city to withstand two sieges by Algirdas of Lithuania, in 1368 and 1370. Attempt for the third siege in 1372 ended in Treaty of Lyubutsk. In 1375, Dmitry managed to settle his conflict with Mikhail II of Tver over Vladimir in his favour. Other princes of Northern Russia also acknowledged his authority and contributed their troops to his impending struggle against the Horde. By the end of his reign, Dmitry more than doubled territory of Moscow principality.

Struggle against Mamai

Dmitriy Donskoy in the Battle of Kulikovo
Defense of Moscow from Tokhtamysh in 1382

Dmitry's thirty-year reign saw the beginning of the end for Mongol domination of parts of what is now Russia. The Golden Horde was severely weakened by civil war and dynastic rivalries. Dmitry took advantage of this lapse in Mongol authority to openly challenge the Tatars.

While he kept the Khan's patent to collect taxes for all of Russia, Dmitry is also famous for leading the first Russian military victory over the Mongols. Mamai, a Mongol general and claimant to the throne, tried to punish Dmitry for attempting to increase his power. In 1378 Mamai sent a Mongol army, but it was defeated by Dmitry's forces in the Battle of Vozha River Two years later Mamai personally led a large force against Moscow. Dmitry met and defeated it at the Battle of Kulikovo.

The defeated Mamai was presently dethroned by a rival Mongol general, Tokhtamysh. That khan reasserted Mongol rule over parts of what now is Russia and overran Moscow for Dmitry's resistance to Mamai. Dimitry, however, pledged his loyalty to Tokhtamysh and to the Golden Horde and was reinstated as Mongol principal tax collector and Grand Duke of Vladimir. Upon his death in 1389, Dimitry was the first Grand Duke to bequeath his titles to his son Vasiliy without consulting the Khan.

Marriage and children

Dmitriy Donskoy in a World War I patriotic poster by Konstantin Korovin

He was married to Eudoxia of Nizhniy Novgorod. She was a daughter of Dmitry of Suzdal and Vasilisa of Rostov. They had at least twelve children:

  • Daniil Dmitriyevich (c. 1370 – 15 September 1379).
  • Vasiliy I of Moscow (30 September 1371 – 27 February 1425).
  • Sofia Dmitriyevna. Married Fyodor Olegovich, Prince of Ryazan (reigned 1402–1427).
  • Yuriy Dmitriyevich, Duke of Zvenigorod and Galich (26 November 1374 – 5 June 1434). Claimed the throne of Moscow against his nephew Vasiliy II of Moscow.
  • Maria Dmitriyevna (d. 15 May 1399). Married Lengvenis.
  • Anastasia Dmitriyevna. Married Ivan Vsevolodovich, Prince of Kholm.
  • Simeon Dmitrievich (d. 11 September 1379).
  • Ivan Dmitriyevich (d. 1393).
  • Andrey Dmitriyevich, Prince of Mozhaysk (14 August 1382 – 9 July 1432).
  • Pyotr Dmitriyevich, Prince of Dmitrov (29 July 1385 – 10 August 1428).
  • Anna Dmitriyevna (born 8 January 1387). Married Yury Patrikiyevich. Her husband was a son of Patrikas, Prince of Starodub and his wife Helena. His paternal grandfather was Narimantas. The marriage solidified his role as a Boyar attached to Moscow.
  • Konstantin Dmitriyevich, Prince of Pskov (14 May/15 May 1389 – 1433).
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ivan II
Grand Prince of Moscow
Succeeded by
Vasily I
Russian royalty
Preceded by
Ivan II
Heir to the Russian Throne
Succeeded by
Daniil Dmitriyevich

See also


  1. ^ Asimov, Isaac. Asimov's Chronology of the World. New York: HarperCollins, 1989; p. 186.
  2. ^ (Greek) Ὁ Ἅγιος Δημήτριος ὁ μεγάλος Πρίγκιπας. 19 Μαΐου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  3. ^ June 1 / May 19. HOLY TRINITY RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH (A parish of the Patriarchate of Moscow).

External links

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